What is the relationship between PureSystems, BlueMix, SoftLayer, DevOps, and Cloud Foundry?


I’ve been asked this question many times by clients so I thought I’ll give a brief overview in this blogpost. In order to define relationships between these entities, I’ll first describe them briefly.

IBM PureSystems

PureSystems is called the “Expert Integrated Systems” because you don’t have to worry about configuration of nodes, storage, network, SAN and power anymore. Everything ships as an appliance and you only have to plug-in the power and network and you are ready to run. We have PureSystems on the IaaS (IBM PureFlex System), PaaS (IBM PureApplication System) and DbaaS (IBM PureData System) layers. These are meant for building private clouds in your data center.

IBM SoftLayer

This is IBM’s IaaS public cloud offering. In contrast to competition, IBM provides bare metal nodes and bare metal network components (routers, firewalls) in addition to the virtualized infrastructure components. All network traffic within the worldwide SoftLayer backbone is for free, so data center failover and real 24/7 SLA’s are now available not only for the financial service clients, but for everybody!

Cloud Foundry

I think Google started with the idea of a scalable component cloud called AppEngine. This idea has been picked up by Amazon with Beanstalk. These offerings are very innovative, but they lack one key aspect. They lock you into their middleware. So you cannot use common open and closed source application middleware and services (e.g. TOMCAT, PHP, MySQL, etc.). Therefore Cloud Foundry has been invented as open standard to build PaaS clouds and every application running on a Cloud Foundry compliant cloud can be migrated easily to other cloud service providers.

IBM Bluemix

Bluemix is IBM’s PaaS Cloud offering using Cloud Foundry and running on OpenStack/SoftLayer. In addition to Cloud Foundry, command line tools and Eclipse plugins, Bluemix also provides a Web Management console for managing application and services in Cloud Foundry running on Bluemix. And, of course, in addition to IBM supported open source runtimes and services you have the choice of the full IBM software portfolio. Also, in case you want to use a DB2 BLU Data Warehouse accelerator over a MySQL or PostgreSQL, you can do this with just a few mouse clicks!


DevOps means Development and Operations, and when written in this way, it means a system that facilitates and connects development and operation tasks together, especially things like continuous integration and continuous delivery/deployment in conjunction with defect and change request management provides an easy and agile way to adapt this process to your application. Google and Facebook are deploying multiple production releases per day. With DevOps services in Bluemix, you can do the same now, even without installing any tool locally if you don’t want to.

So now we know the basics, let’s put this together:

You have your idea. Using your favourite runtime (WebSphere, Tomcat, PHP, Node.js, Ruby, etc.) and your favourite services (MySQL, PostgreSQL, DB2, message queues, etc.) just go to hub.jazz.net to use the Bluemix DevOps services and deploy it on the fly in the Eclipse Orion based IDE directly to Bluemix. And guess what, it is up-and-running and online just after 10 seconds! And where does the IBM PureApplication System fit into this? We have it in the cloud as well! So you can easily build hybrid cloud using PureApplication technology on- and off-premise at the same time.


Comments: 3
Romeo Kienzler

About Romeo Kienzler

Romeo Kienzler works as Data Scientist and Architect at the IBM Innovation Center specialized in (Big) Data Management, Applied Statistics and Artificial Intelligence. He holds a Diploma in Distributed Systems and a M. Sc. in Information Systems with specialization in Applied Statistics and Bioinformatics. Before joining the Innovation Center he worked as Software Engineer and Architect at IBM Software Group Switzerland.

3 Responses to What is the relationship between PureSystems, BlueMix, SoftLayer, DevOps, and Cloud Foundry?

  1. Marry Smith says:

    Hello Romeo,

    I would like to say thanks for sharing descriptive and useful post with us. I really agree with your in-between comparison with PureSystems, BlueMix, SoftLayer, DevOps, and Cloud Foundry. I am looking forward for new post.

  2. Martin Reinke says:

    Many Thanks Romeo, I have been looking for something like this for weeks. I would really like to deepen the discussion in terms of a comparison of Bluemix and Pure App (IPAS). From my point of view there is a significant differnce in terms of the possiblity to get IPAS on-premise (as the IPAS Appliance) and off-premise (as IPAS on Softlayer), while Bluemix is only available off-premise (always on Softlayer).

    • Yes Martin, I totally agree, so in my opinion the next strategic step for IBM would be making IPAS cloudfoundry/bluemix compatible. Whereas cloudfoundry compatibility is not an issue at all bluemix compatibility on-premise would also mean to leverage all the services bundled with bluemix on IPAS which for some is possible, for some is hard and for some is impossible.


Comments are closed.